AT&T has extended the waiting period for upgrades on phones from 20 months to two years. In a blog post Sunday, the company said the new upgrade policy will apply to new contracts and any existing contracts ending March 2014 and later.
AT&T’s change of heart comes about two months after its biggest rival, Verizon, similarly extended its upgrade cycle from 20 months to two years.
AT&T still allows customers to purchase new devices at full unsubsidized prices. AT&T also offers smaller subsidies on early upgrades after six months on contract as well as trade-ins. AT&T charges an early termination fee of $325 minus $10 for each completed month of the contract.
T-Mobile earlier this year did away with contracts and subsidies, instead offering its customers payment plans on devices. But T-Mobile customers are still required to stick with the 24 monthly payments schedule to avoid having to pay off their device in one chunk. Sprint still allows customers to upgrade after 20 months.